Our waiting list is currently at five. That's not five families, that's five communities, and there are more who would probably be interested in joining if they were aware we existed...and there are probably more who I would present it to if I knew they existed. So, while I've been adamant about adding no more than one new community per year, I'm thinking about maybe adding two in 2017.
The main reason why I've been interested in only adding one is quite simple: it takes time and energy to build a relationship with a new community. Trust is not something easily built in this country. Their government says they will change things for the poor, but no change ever comes. Foreigners come and then go back to their country, forgetting all about the people they've met. So, when I say that I am going to do something, they don't believe me. It puts an emotional strain on a person as I struggle to learn names and familial connections in an effort to prove to these people that I am who I say I am. Currently, Educacion con Esperanza serves 11 families with 24 children in school, but because we work for the economy of the entire family, it can be said that we serve 80 people, half of those either in school or pre-school. But let's stop with those numbers for now because I don't want any of them to become just a number.
However, numbers are the other reason why I've hesitated to add even one more community. This sort of work takes money, and I haven't started a 501c3 (NGO). Why? Well, because I don't know how to. And I read things online and it says to fill out this form or that form and, quite frankly, it all sounds really difficult to do from here and really time-consuming to do from there. But I did some number running the other day. To support the village where I'm working right now, I require $3,000/year. Yes, that's food, school supplies, and bills for 80 people. (That's only $250/month.) Obviously, that can vary based on the enthusiasm of the students for their studies, and the bulk of that is needed in January when the school year starts. However, after doing that math, I felt a lot better about adding one community this coming year...and then I felt a lot better about adding two communities this coming year.
Do you have $10 you could spare per month? Do you have 24 friends who could spare $10 per month as well? You could adopt a community. You could make life better for about 80 people. You could send about 24 students to school. Be on the lookout later this month for an online campaign to raise the money to send a community to school. Or, if you prefer a paper version, I can get you the address of my sending church and you can mail them a check.